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Kat's Review of Live To Tell by Lisa Gardner (DD Warren #4)

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My Review: 4/5

Danielle Burton is the lone survivor of her family massacre over 25 years ago. She currently works in a children's psychiatric ward trying to help if not save children. It is fast approaching the 25th anniversary of the event and she feels powerless to stop all the old emotions from returning. In a nearby working class neighbourhood, a family is found dead. There is one survivor the father, who is clinging on for life in the Intensive Care Unit. Detective DD Warren is called to the scene and soon realises that this is not a simple open and shut murder case.Victoria Oliver is trying to just get through each day of here life. She tries her best to keep her son safe from himself and the outside world but the day to day struggle becomes harder when she realised the biggest threat is from her own son.The lives of Danielle, Victoria and DD will soon collide, only none of them realises just how great the consequences are going to be.

I have been a fan of Lisa Gardner's since I picked up one of her earlier books. I almost always pre-order her books so that I don't miss a publication date. Her books in the past have proved to be absolutely edge of your seat suspense. This book, well, in a word I have mixed feelings.I read the first review on Amazon from a lady in the US who read one of LG's earlier books entitled `Alone' and then read this current book next. The lady had stated in her review she wondered if they were the same author and I know where she is coming from.

LG has always written really fast paced thrillers and the characters are always really strong and passionate people that are thrown into the deep end of a story. In one respect this book is no different. However, there is one major element to this story which threw me which was the `supernatural'. Now I must point out that I do NOT read supernatural type books and do not subscribe to the `supernatural belief system'. Therefore, this element of the story threw me a bit.

Although the mention of supernatural is recurring throughout, this element of the story is strictly surrounding only one character. I think that you can choose to take this element which ever way you please. It is also clear that two of the main characters, namely DD and Danielle are `non-believers'' which I think adds to the realism of the story. The ending can be read in two different ways as well. I think the author used the supernatural element in addition to the other characters as opposed to the only answer. I thought that the supernatural element to one side, LG has again produced a fantastic story with great characters and a really strong plot. Although some fans may not think this is one of her best I actually really enjoyed it.

A lot of this book is based around the children that are housed in the psychiatric unit in a hospital and the kind of behaviour that they display due to varying medical conditions. Danielle is a nurse on that ward and a good chunk of the story centres in the unit and its children and staff. Lisa Gardner writes these children's problems with great care and it makes you realise that taking a pill isn't always the answer for some sick kids. I also read at the end of the book that LG was compelled to write this into one of her stories due to her own personal experience with a friend's child.

It was great to see DD Warren back in the hot seat, although for some reason in this latest book she has become a sex-starved workaholic with a very bitter outlook on life. Don't get me wrong, she was a great character to begin with and I always like realism in a character. I just didn't remember her being quite so harsh. All of the slight negatives regarding supernatural to one side, I still thoroughly recommend Lisa Gardner and cannot wait for her next one (albeit hopefully with less woo-woo in it).

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